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Dumpster Diving by Lars Eighner

March 1, 2010 by ape43 · No Comments · Uncategorized

         This article took me by shock not only because it’s a well-written article on dumpster diving, but also because Eighner speaks so highly of it’s almost as if he considers it a talent. I assume this is an article intended to take people by shock, for he uses such smooth, beautiful, and knowledgeable diction to describe something that is generally considered the complete opposite. As he describes how he knows what food is acceptable to eat, he states:

“For myself I have few qualms about dry foods such as crackers, cookies, cereal, chips, and pasta if they are free of visible contaminates and still dry and crisp. Most often such things are found in the original packaging, which is not so much a positive sign as it is the absence of a negative one.”

The last sentence is extremely effective because while he states that original packaging does not necessarily make it a good sign but shows it is not a bad sign, which in my opinion captures his “survival” opinion on dumpster diving and what he is trying to portray in the article as a whole.  Throughout the article he never argues that dumpster diving is a particularly good thing – for he is not saying anything against people who have the blessing to enjoy their own, new food and he is not trying to convert anyone to dumpster diving. However, he does imply that dumpster diving is sometimes necessary and if done with knowledge and correctly it is not necessarily as horrible as society seems to label it. He states that it is it’s own “urban art” and describes what he learns from it on multiple occasions.

          I also enjoy the contrast and surprise in the fact that his writing is so intelligence and society so often assumes that those who must resort to dumpster diving are not intelligent. In a way, it seems he indirectly argues against these labels society has given. When considering this stereotype his response to a college paper he finds in the trash is almost ironic as he states, “I am horrified to discover the kind of paper that now merits an A in an undergraduate course.” I believe after the reader is through this article, they are left with the surprise and complete contradiction of the un-spoken stereotype.

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